Weeks powers Brewers past Pirates again, 12-8
MILWAUKEE Rickie Weeks was so fed up with his season-long slump that he called Brewers hitting coach Johnny Narron for some early batting practice Tuesday.
The extra work sure paid off for Weeks, who broke out with a three-run homer and five RBIs to lead Milwaukee over the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-8.
Weeks, who began the night batting .167, said he was at Miller Park by 12:30 in the afternoon for the 7:10 p.m. game.
“I wanted to kill myself with work in the cage,” he said. “I was frustrated and I wanted to wear myself out and try to break out of it. I guess it worked.”
Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke was thrilled with Weeks’ performance and hopes it will lead to big things.
“He had a really good day,” Roenicke said. “He’s had good at-bats recently, but hasn’t had the results. But today, everything worked.”
Weeks finished with three hits for the Brewers, who won their ninth straight against Pittsburgh. They improved to 46-7 at Miller Park vs. the Pirates since the start of 2007, the best home record by any team against a division opponent during that stretch.
Andrew McCutchen homered and had four hits for Pittsburgh, which fought back from a 7-3 deficit to grab an 8-7 lead on Starling Marte’s three-run homer in the sixth inning. The hit initially was ruled a double, but umpires overturned the call after a video replay.
Jean Segura led off the bottom half with his third home run of the season.
After Tom Gorzelanny (1-0) escaped a two-on, none-out jam in the seventh, Yuniesky Betancourt lined his sixth home run of the year off Pirates reliever Bryan Morris (0-1), who was just called up from the minors.
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said his team made too many mistakes to win. The Pirates have given up 22 runs in the first two games of the series.
“They play well here. They swing the bats well here,” Hurdle said. “We’ve got to do a better job of commanding the zone, making good pitches and making them uncomfortable. For two nights straight, we haven’t done it.”
Weeks hit his second homer of the season in the eighth inning to seal it. Coming into the game, he had four RBIs all year and only seven hits in his last 72 at-bats.
Carlos Gomez went 2 for 3 with a double and two stolen bases for Milwaukee. Betancourt made a stellar defensive play at third base late in the game.
“Betancourt has been unbelievable offensively and defensively,” Roenicke said. “Segura has done everything and Carlos can change a game.”
Brewers starter Marco Estrada went five innings, giving up five runs and seven hits.
James McDonald started for Pittsburgh, allowing seven runs and eight hits in five innings.
“He didn’t get through them very clean,” Hurdle said. “The five innings, we needed them, but it was a bushel of three-ball counts. The curveball wasn’t in play. A very tough night. We were fortunate to be able to come back and get him some help.”
The Pirates grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on McCutchen’s RBI single.
Milwaukee went up 3-1 in the second. After Weeks and Gomez walked, Martin Maldonado lined a two-run double. Estrada followed with a single that got past right fielder Garrett Jones for an error that allowed Maldonado to score.
Gaby Sanchez’s two-run homer in the third tied the score. Gomez’s RBI double in the bottom half gave Milwaukee a 4-3 lead.
The Brewers made it 7-3 in the fourth on Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI double and Weeks’ two-run single.
Russell Martin and McCutchen hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth for Pittsburgh to cut it to 7-5.
NOTES: Before the game, the Pirates recalled Morris from Triple-A Indianapolis and designated LHP Jonathan Sanchez for assignment. ... Marte’s double to start the game made him 6 for 7 with two walks leading off the first inning in the last nine games. He leads the majors with a .666 batting average in the first inning. ... With a game-time temperature of 81 degrees, Miller Park’s roof was open for the first time this season.